This is my contribution to “Throwback Thursday,” except I’m actually posting it on a Friday. Following is a recap of a meeting held several years ago when the city Mounds attempted to overtake my life in the country. Please note, I have nothing against the fine citizens of Mounds, Oklahoma (especially the nice man who owns the Dollar General, the only store in town, and the fine folks who make tasty pizzas at Simple Simon’s, the only restaurant.) However, beyond having a Mounds mailing address…because our mail has to land somewhere…I don’t want to live there. Or in any city, for that matter.
We gathered at the community center in a room that reminded me of my elementary school cafeteria—unflattering fluorescent lighting, colorless walls and lots of plastic chairs. We just needed some rows of folding tables, some hair-netted lunch ladies, and some sticky P,B&J to complete the flashback.
We—I shall dub us “The Outsiders”—had been summoned to the meeting by very official letters on very official stationary. Now we sat together facing a podium flanked by a long table. There, the city officials of Mounds, Oklahoma, filed in to face us; smiling and united in an obvious attempt to convey an image of friendly, Andy Taylor-style authority.
On the agenda was a proposal to annex nearby land into the city limits of Mounds. The land in question included some newly established neighborhoods as well as some pastureland and some homes on acreages, my 72.25 acre piece of the earth included.
“There will be no additional taxes.”
“There will be improvements.”
“You won’t have to pay an additional fee for fire department service if you are within the city limits.”
“We will give you street lights.”
“No one will be allowed to fire a gun near your homes—it’s illegal to fire a gun within the city limits.”
“We’ll look into paving the gravel roads if you agree to be annexed.”
All of the reasons why we should be jumping at the chance to become official citizens of the city of Mounds were carefully presented. Some in the audience agreed to the annexation. Many did not. Most did not.
I did not.
We were each allowed a few minutes to voice our opinions.
“If you pave the roads, we’ll see more traffic on them. We don’t want more traffic. The gravel roads are fine.”
“It only costs $3.00 per month extra on our water bill to have service from the Mounds Volunteer Fire Department. I’m good with that.”
“I bought my property and moved to the country to live in the country. If I had wanted to live in Mounds, I would have bought a home in Mounds.”
“What about my animals? The city of Mounds has restrictions that don’t exist in the county.”
“Why do you want to annex families that clearly don’t want to be annexed?”
The majority of my neighbors rallied in thoughtful protest. Then it was my turn to have a say. Oh how I love having my say. For once, I kept it short, but oh-so-sweet.
“If you annex my property, I will get arrested,” I said in my most serious tone.
“Arrested? Why do you believe you will be arrested?” one of the city council members queried with obvious concern.
“Because I will use my gun to shoot out the new street lights so that I can still enjoy seeing thousands of stars on a pitch black night. I believe you just said it is illegal to fire a gun within the city limits.”
I still live in the country, just outside of the city limits of Mounds. Good job, fellow outsiders.